Pretoria - Germany is to increase its economic investment in South Africa and other African states, Foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Pretoria on Monday.
His country was seeking partners in Africa to do business with as equals, he told reporters after meeting his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Pretoria.
"This is a strategic decision of the government in Germany to seek new opportunities in Africa, especially in South Africa. We think Africa is a continent of opportunities.
"We need investments. We need to trade and establish partnerships between equals. We need partnerships in skills development, vocational training, education and science."
Westerwelle is leading a Germany business delegation which has toured Ghana and will be heading to Mozambique.
South Africa was, however, Germany’s "most important economic and political partner" on the continent.
"Last year, our trade was around €14bn and over 600 German companies provide over 90 000 jobs in South Africa," he said.
"South Africa is also an important partner to us in world politics. We followed with close attention the Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] summit you hosted in March. It shows how the world is changing and there are new heavyweights like South Africa and we are seeking close co-operation."
He lauded South Africa for its interventions in strife-torn countries on the African continent.
"We value highly South Africa’s commitment to peace and security in Africa, for instance the mediation efforts by former president Thabo Mbeki in Sudan. We pay tribute to your peace-keeping efforts."
Nkoana-Mashabane said Germany extensively supported South Africa’s development priorities and had allocated around R3.4m during the 2012/13 period.
She said Germany was South Africa's third largest trading partner and its second largest investor.
"Africa is on a massive infrastructure building [exercise] which will help unlock the potential of our continent."